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COMPLAINT

PURSUANT TO THE HEALTH CARE COMPLAINTS ACT 1993


THAT THE “AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK” IS PROVIDING A HEALTH
SERVICE THAT ENDANGERS PUBLIC HEALTH

CONTENTS PAGE

0. INTRODUCTION 3

1. WHO IS THE AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK? (AVN). 4

2. WHO IS THE PUBLIC OFFICER? 5

3. WHO ARE THE AVN’S BOARD MEMBERS? 5

4. JUSRISDICTION: DOES THE HEALTH CARE COMPLAINTS ACT 1993 APPLY TO


THE AVN AND MERYL DOREY? 5

5. IS THE AVN PROTECTED BY A “RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH?” 6

6. WHAT FORM OF ADVICE DOES THE AVN GIVE? 6

7. SOME EXAMPLES OF DANGEROUS STATEMENTS AND ADVICE

7.1. Regarding the use of the MMR vaccine 7

7.1.2. Regarding the safety of the MMR vaccine 7

7.1.3. Regarding the danger of measles mumps and rubella 8

7.2. Regarding the dangers of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) 10

7.3 Regarding the incidence of Pertussis 11

7.4. Regarding the dangers of Pertussis and recommended treatment 11

7.5. Regarding Diphtheria vaccination 12

7.6. Regarding Bacterial Meningitis 13

7.7. Regarding the safety of the Gardasil vaccine 13

8. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

8.1. The parents of baby Dana McCaffery 15

8.2. At a seminar 15

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8.3. AVN prescribes homeopathic and herbal treatments

for diphtheria 15

8.4. Another conspiracy theory. 15

9. WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE AVN ANTI-VACCINATION CAMPAIGN? 16

10. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

10.1. Summary. 16

10.2. The AVN is in breach of Public Health (General) Regulation 2002,

Section 3 para 2 17

10.3. The AVN is in breach of NSW Public Health (General) Regulation 2002

Section 12, sub-paragraph (3) 17

10.4. The AVN is in breach of Public Health (General) Regulation

2002 Schedule 3 Section 7 paragraph 1, 17

10.5. I submit that: 18

APPENDIX 1: SOME OF THE BOOKS FOR SALE ON THE AVN WEBSITE 19

APPENDIX 2: NOTES AND REFERENCES 20

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COMPLAINT

PURSUANT TO THE HEALTH CARE COMPLAINTS ACT 1993

THAT THE “AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK” IS PROVIDING A HEALTH SERVICE

THAT ENDANGERS PUBLIC HEALTH

0. INTRODUCTION.

These pictures show Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty, delivering the keynote address at
Melbourne's 2009 Festival of Ideas, hosted by Melbourne University, with one of his PowerPoint
presentations. Professor Doherty said there that Childhood Vaccination Denial is a “Crime
Against Humanity.” Professor Doherty AC is a researcher in the field of medicine. He received
the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1995, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or
Medicine in 1996, and was named Australian of the Year in 1997.

Professor Doherty's research focuses on the immune system, and his Nobel work described how
the body's immune cells protect against viruses. His views on immunology and vaccination
should therefore be taken seriously.

He described the increase in the incidence of whooping cough due to the decrease of
vaccination as “a tragedy and a completely preventable tragedy.”

It is therefore remarkable that no action has been taken against the most active and most effective
childhood vaccination deniers, the Australian Vaccination Network, (AVN).

This complaint is therefore submitted with the intent of persuading the NSW Health Care
Complaints Commission to take action against the AVN. This complaint is not intended to enter into
the debate about the risks and benefits or otherwise of vaccination or any particular vaccine. This
complaint is intended to prove that the Australian Vaccination Network engages in misleading and
deceptive conduct to dissuade people from vaccinating themselves and their children, and that
consequently the AVN is a danger to public health and safety.

Pursuant to S96 of the Health Care Complaints Act, this Complaint is made in good faith with the
3 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK
intent of preventing an organisation and its officers from endangering public health and safety, and
therefore I claim exoneration from any action, liability, claim or demand.

1. WHO IS THE AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK? (AVN).

The AVN is a very active group who freely dispense information and advice on diseases and
vaccinations. The AVN’s activities include a magazine “Living Wisdom”, a quarterly newsletter “The
Inside Edition,” a website, email newsletters, public meetings and seminars, Internet Web Seminars,
production and sale of videos DVDs and CDs, and appearances on radio and television. In all of
these, Meryl Dorey features very prominently. The AVN’s magazine “Living Wisdom” claims to have
a circulation of over 2,500 to subscribers and 5,000 via newsagents. 2

One logo used by them is:

The AVN is registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission as a business with
the ARBN of 30 077 002 923,

The AVN is registered with the NSW Office Of Liquor Gaming and Racing as a charity for fundraising
purposes with licence number 11694.

The AVN was first registered in 1994 with the NSW office Of Fair Trading as an Incorporated
Association with the registration number 20791 27, (under its original title of “The Australian
Council For Immunization Information”).

Their postal address is listed as PO Box 177, BANGALOW NSW 2479, near Byron Bay.

The AVN’s objects, as listed in the Application For Incorporation of Association are:

“(a) To maintain and provide information relating to immunization and vaccination.

(b) To be a central source of information for public benefit.

(c) To ensure and assist community awareness as to immunization issues.”

The AVN’s principal activities, as listed in the Application For Incorporation of Association are:

“(a) To provide counselling and support in relation to immunization issues.

(b) To provide a network between parents and health carers.


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(c) To compile information and data and arrange distribution.”

2. WHO IS THE PUBLIC OFFICER?

The Public Officer is listed by the Office of Fair Trading as MERYL DOREY. The public face of the
AVN is Meryl Dorey who claims that her medical qualifications are that she “has studied this
issue for 20 years” and that she “has a brain.” She admits to having no formal medical
qualifications, and said on television that “you don’t need an M D to have a brain.” 3

3. WHO ARE THE AVN’S BOARD MEMBERS?

Documents filed with ASIC list the directors as Meryl Dorey, Melissa Begg, Michael Francis Stacey,
Molly Knight, Grant Touzel. The reader should note that under Australian law, all Directors are
personally responsible and culpable and liable for any consequences of the actions of the
organisation and its officers.

4. JUSRISDICTION: DOES THE HEALTH CARE COMPLAINTS ACT 1993 APPLY TO THE AVN AND
MERYL DOREY?

In Division 1 of the Act, we find that a complaint may be made by any person against a health
service provider even though, at the time the complaint is made, the health service provider is not
qualified or entitled to provide the health service concerned.

The Act defines a "health practitioner" as “a natural person who provides a health service (whether
or not the person is registered under a health registration Act).” It defines a “health service
provider" as a “person who provides a health service (being a health practitioner or a health
organisation).”

The Act defines a "health service" as including the following services, inter alia, whether provided as
public or private services:

“ (f) community health services,


(g) health education services,
(k) services provided in other alternative health care fields.”

Clearly therefore, both the AVN, (being a health service provider), and Meryl Dorey (being a health
service provider and health practitioner), fall within the jurisdiction of The Health Care Complaints
Act 1993, via these three sub-paragraphs and their claims to provide “ counselling,” “information,”
and “support,” and their activities in providing technical medical information and medical advice.

As Meryl Dorey is the spokesperson for the AVN, and a Director and the Public Officer, my
complaint is against both her and the AVN. For convenience I shall usually refer to simply “the
AVN” in this complaint, although my complaint applies also to her.

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5. IS THE AVN PROTECTED BY A “RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH?”

Contrary to the perceptions of an Australian public raised on a diet of Hollywood movies, there is no
right of free speech in the Australian Constitution. On the contrary, Australian legislation and case
law are littered with restrictions on speech, from contempt of parliament, national security,
contempt of Court, sub judice rules, criminal defamation, breach of copyright, racial vilification, etc.
For example, see Jones v Frederick Toben. In 2002, a judge of the Federal Court of Australia found
that Töben's website "vilified Jewish people", and ordered Töben to remove offensive material from
his site. In May 2009, he was sentenced to three months in jail by Justice Bruce Lander after being
found guilty of 24 charges of contempt, in that he continued to publish offensive views in defiance
of Court orders. 4

Likewise, cancer quack Jillian Margaret Newlands has been ordered by the Queensland Supreme
Court to cease providing her quack cancer cure and dangerous advice, such as advising clients not to
seek chemotherapy treatment. 5

So, in Australia, one is entitled to free speech provided that one does not harm an individual or
society in general. As Oliver Wendell Holmes USA CJ, put it so succinctly, “The most stringent
protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre.” 6 The AVN is
clearly harming individuals and society and is not protected by any right of free speech.

Indeed, by explicitly including “health education” in the Health Care Complaints Act, speech is
clearly not protected here, as speech is necessarily a part of the education process.

6. WHAT FORM OF ADVICE DOES THE AVN GIVE?

The AVN says that its Mission Statement is:

“The AVN, publisher of Informed Voice magazine, is dedicated to the idea that health
can be achieved and maintained without the use of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.
“7

The AVN qualifies that by saying later that:

“Information on all health options should be freely available in order to enable truly
informed choice on these issues.”

It is my complaint that the AVN, despite its claim to issue balanced information and advice on “all
health options”, issues statements and advice that are clearly wrong, misleading, deceptive, biased,
and a danger to public health. Nowhere in all my research into the AVN did I find any statement
from the AVN supporting vaccination in any way. All AVN statements regarding vaccination that I
found disparaged vaccination, except for mentions of “homeopathic vaccination.”

The AVN’s website offers books for sale which denigrate vaccines. Some are shown in Appendix 1. I
could not find any AVN publication, or any publication recommended by the AVN, that supported
vaccination.
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The AVN’s true intention is revealed by their advertisement on their website for T-shirts bearing
their name with the logo:

7. SOME EXAMPLES OF DANGEROUS STATEMENTS AND ADVICE.

7.1. Regarding the use of the MMR vaccine in Japan, the AVN says on their website: 9

“ Some countries such as Japan have stopped using the combination vaccine because of
the increased risk. “

Response 7.1.1. Japan. First, let us be clear. In April 1993, Japan stopped using the MMR vaccine,
(five years before the Wakefield paper10 was published), following unsubstantiated reports that the
anti-mumps component might be causing meningitis. 11 This was then an unsubstantiated
perceived risk and the Japanese Government commissioned research to see if there was an actual
risk. “Perceived Risk” is different to “Actual Risk.” The AVN fails to refer to later research, very
widely reported, that showed that in Japan, the number of children with autism continued to rise
after the MMR vaccine was replaced with single vaccines. Hideo Honda PhD of the Yokohama
Rehabilitation Center concluded that the MMR vaccine cannot have caused autism in the many
children with autism spectrum disorders in Japan who were born and grew up in the era when MMR
was not available. “The findings are resoundingly negative,” Honda said in his report.12 So, the
perceived “increased risk” was found to be baseless, and for the AVN to say that “Some countries
such as Japan have stopped using the combination vaccine because of the increased risk “ is
selective and deceptive, and completely out of date.

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

7.1.2. Regarding the safety of the MMR vaccine, on 15 June 2009, Meryl Dorey issued an email
asking for financial contributions to fund an advertisement “in Copland Publishing magazines
(Sydney's Child, Melbourne's Child, etc.) This publication is sent out to all clinics, surgeries and many
other venues and is read by a huge number of new mums and mums-to-be all over Australia.” The
ad says inter alia:

“Court Again Concedes Vaccines Cause Autism

“....the (US) vaccine court has ruled vaccines caused Bailey’s autism and ordered
compensation for his family. (Bailey) Banks is the second case where the government

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could not deny the overwhelming evidence showing vaccines caused a child’s
autism....”

Response 7. 1.2. A careful reading of the US Court judgement 13 shows that the AVN’s
interpretation of the judgement is not correct. The judgement says that in the case of Bailey
Banks, the probability in his case alone was “50% plus a feather” that the vaccine caused some
side effects. Proof beyond reasonable doubt was not required. The US Government has not
conceded that there is a link at all, and indeed the Act under which this action was brought
provides no-fault arbitration for vaccine injury claims.

And to put this matter to rest, the judgement said on page 19:

“....the Court is inclined to view Bailey’s condition as accurately as the medical


records will allow; that is, to find that Bailey more likely than not suffers from PDD,
and not from autism.”

So the AVN’s statements here are demonstrably untrue.

7.1.3. Regarding the danger of measles mumps and rubella, the AVN says

“Unlike vaccination (which offers only temporary immunity), the natural occurrence of
each of these diseases (measles mumps and rubella) (all non-threatening illnesses in
early childhood) generally results in lifelong immunity.:14....Research also suggests that
there is a connection between MMR vaccination and the development of autism, Crohn's
Disease and Irritable Bowel Disease.

Response 7.1.3.1. The claim that measles mumps and rubella are all non-threatening diseases and
the supposed dangers of MMR. Where do we begin? The number of downright wrong statements
here are almost overwhelming.

Measles: For the so-called non-threatening disease of measles, the UK NHS has a different view, as
shown in FIG1 below. See also the Australian Dept of Health’s view in FIG 3 later.

15

FIG1

Meryl Dorey said on television that in Australia “right now there are 12 deaths a year from
measles.” 16 (This of course contradicts her statement that measles is non-threatening.)

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On the same program, Professor Peter McIntyre of The National Centre for Immunisation Research
and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (NCIRS) said there has not been a death from
measles in Australia in over 20 years. She is proved wrong by the statistics in FIG 3 below.

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

Mumps: For the so-called non-threatening disease of mumps, consider this table of complications
in FIG 2. They might not be deadly, but they are still nevertheless devastating to the sufferers.
Note that none of these figures feature anywhere in the AVN publications, leading to the conclusion
that the AVN is being deliberately selective.

17

FIG 2

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

Rubella: For the so-called non-threatening disease of rubella, the consequences of infection are
well known. Rubella can cause congenital rubella syndrome in the newly born. The syndrome (CRS)
follows intrauterine infection by Rubella virus and comprises cardiac, cerebral, ophthalmic and
auditory defects. It may also cause prematurity, low birth weight, and neonatal thrombocytopenia,
anaemia and hepatitis. The risk of major defects or organogenesis is highest for infection in the first
trimester. CRS is the main reason a vaccine for rubella was developed. Many mothers who contract
rubella within the first critical trimester either have a miscarriage or a still born baby. If the baby
survives the infection, it can be born with severe heart disorders (PDA being the most common),
blindness, deafness, or other life threatening organ disorders. The skin manifestations are called
"blueberry muffin lesions." 18

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

Response 7.1.3.2 Autism. For the AVN’s statement that “Research also suggests that there is a
connection between MMR vaccination and the development of autism,...”the AVN is referring to the
Wakefield study published in the Lancet. No other research has ever found that supposed link, and
Wakefield’s paper has been thoroughly discredited and retracted by the Lancet and all of his co-
authors. To refer to this, even obliquely, is incompetent or dishonest, or both.
9 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK
So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

Response 7.1.3.3. Crohn’s Disease and IBS. For the AVN’s statement that “Research also suggests
that there is a connection between MMR vaccination and the development of .... Crohn's Disease
and Irritable Bowel Disease....”

The UK NHS says of this supposed link between the two diseases and the MMR vaccine:

“Research has been published suggesting a possible link between measles vaccine and
Crohn's disease. This work has been rejected by the World Health Organization, and
many other scientists and doctors in the field. Independent researchers looking at the
original work that claimed a link between MMR and Crohn's have been unable to
confirm the theory. No increase in cases of Crohn's disease was seen after the 1994
Measles/Rubella campaign in the UK, when millions of schoolchildren were vaccinated.
The charitable support group, the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's (NACC),
has reviewed the relevant published research, and fully supports the two dose MMR
programme in the UK.” 19

In 1998, the British Medical Journal published a study that looked for a link between measles
vaccination and Crohn's disease.

It concluded:

'the theory of measles as a causative factor in the development of Crohn's disease


cannot be upheld'.

The Editor of the British Medical Journal commented that the theory was 'dead'. 20

Again, for the AVN to say that “Research also suggests that there is a connection between MMR
vaccination and the development of autism, Crohn's Disease and Irritable Bowel Disease” is
incompetent or dishonest, or both.

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

7.2. Regarding the dangers of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Meryl Dorey said on television:

“You didn’t die from it (whooping cough) 30 years ago and you’re not going to die from
it today”.21

Response 7.2.1. Now this is clearly wrong. See the Australian Dept of Health study “Vaccine
Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia 2003 to 2005” and the total deaths
which are now largely preventable, in Fig 3 below. Particularly, look at the deaths from Pertussis,
(and note the deaths both before and after vaccination became widely available).

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FIG 3

The numbers above are for Australia, a healthy first-world country. Globally, in 1999 the estimated
number of deaths for children under 15 years from Pertussis was between 295,000 and 390,000. 22
People do die from Pertussis, and to claim that “you’re not going to die from it” is dishonest or
incompetent, or both.

7.3 Regarding the incidence of Pertussis, Meryl Dorey wrote:

“ .... This picture (a steady increase in the incidence of Pertussis) is duplicated in


Australia and every other developed country where we see the majority of Pertussis
cases are occurring in fully vaccinated individuals. ”23

Response 7.3.1 A glance at FIG 3 above shows the remarkable drop in Pertussis infections since
the introduction of the vaccine, so it is a little unfair to denigrate it. If one is concerned with the
rise in the incidence of infections in the last 20 years, one could of course point to the success of
the AVN’s campaigns. However, Meryl Dorey is correct to say that Pertussis infection can occur
in vaccinated individuals. What she leaves out is the fact that people require booster
vaccinations.

I asked her to substantiate here claim that “the majority of pertussis cases are occurring in fully
vaccinated individuals" by email on 3 July 2009 but never received a reply. I cannot find any
research to validate that claim so it would be fair to say it is untrue.

So, her claims here are highly selective, deceptive and untrue.

7.4. Regarding the dangers of Pertussis and recommended treatment, Meryl Dorey went on to say
at the same television event;

“ we treated whooping cough homeopathically and none of us were sick for more than 2
weeks. My vaccinated children got it and my unvaccinated children got it. And none of us
were sick for more than 2 weeks and it was nothing more than a bad cough”. 24

Response 7.4.1 I asked Meryl Dorey:

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“Would you confirm your statement that whooping cough is not a fatal disease, please.

“And regarding your second statement, would you mind telling me;
- who diagnosed these illnesses on that occasion?
25
- Do you advocate homeopathy as a treatment for whooping cough?”

I never received a reply. I believe that the “whooping cough” diagnosis was not made by a
medically qualified doctor, but by Meryl Dorey herself, and the homeopathy made no difference to
the progress of the disease. To hold this charade up as an example of responsible treatment is
reckless.

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

7.5. Regarding Diphtheria vaccination, the AVN says:

“Whilst there was a time in Australia when many children and adults died every year
from this illness, better hygiene and nutrition in the early part of this century saw death
rates drop substantially (well before mass use of the diphtheria vaccine). There has not
been a case of diphtheria in Australia for many years.” 26

Response 7.5.1 A quick glance at FIG 3 above shows that the death rate dropped after mass
diphtheria vaccinations began. The AVN should be challenged to substantiate their claim that the
drop was due to better “hygiene and nutrition.” This is an old canard that has been spread by the
anti-vaccination movement for decades, and while these no doubt played a substantial part in the
improvement of public health, there is no credible research that excludes vaccination.

The AVN is not above baseless fear campaigns, for example the AVN has said:

“All types of diphtheria vaccine which are licensed in Australia contain mercury, a known
neuro-toxin (brain poison).” 27 (This refers to the inclusion of thiomersal, a mercury
compound, in some vaccines.)

Yet a mass of research shows, for example:

“... none of the epidemiological studies conducted in Europe and elsewhere support this
assumption (i.e. the hypothesis that mercury contained in vaccines could be the cause
of autism and other neurological developmental disorders.) Although any effort should
be made to avoid useless exposure of vaccines to a potentially toxic compound, it should
be emphasized that

1) public communication on this issue has led to a decrease in the hepatitis B vaccination
coverage of children born to HBs Ag positive mothers in the US;

2) this issue was not really relevant in France where until 2002, apart from two hepatitis
B vaccines, all childhood vaccines were thiomersal-free, and

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3) in developing countries using multidose vaccine vials, moving to thiomersal-free
vaccines in unidose presentations would represent such an incremental cost that millions
of children would no more have access to vaccination.

Therefore the World Health Organisation still recommends the use of thiomersal-
containing vaccines as part of the expanded programme of immunisation.” 28

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue, and campaigns similar to the AVN’s have led
to a decrease in life-saving vaccinations.

7.6. Regarding Bacterial Meningitis, Meryl Dorey said:

“When we look back at the history in Australia, we see that these bacterial meningitis
infections have increased exponentially....since mass vaccination was introduced.....” 29

Response 7.6.1: Coinciding with the introduction of the national meningococcal C immunisation
program in January 2003, the notification rate decreased by 39% while the hospitalisation rate
decreased by 47%. 30

I asked Meryl Dorey to substantiate her statement, via email on 13 July 2009, but did not receive a
reply.

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

Meryl Dorey went on to say in the same interview:

“Why is that? Because vaccine by its very nature can suppress the immune system.”

Again, simply wrong. Vaccination is a method for improving the immune system.

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably untrue.

7.7. Regarding the safety of the Gardasil vaccine, Meryl Dorey said:

“The total number of Gardasil-related deaths is 47 since the vaccine was approved in
2006. ” 31

Response 7.7.1 Dorey gave no source as the basis of this information, except to quote a right-
wing American organisation, “Judicial Watch”, who claim to have analysed FDA data. However,
according the “Medical News” website 32 a CDC spokesperson:

“said the agency has confirmed four deaths that occurred after the patients received
Gardasil, but none of the deaths was linked directly to the vaccine. He said that there
have been fewer complaints about adverse effects associated with Gardasil than
there have been for other drugs.

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“Medical News” went on:

“Several of the reports to FDA of deaths of girls and women who received Gardasil
note that the patient had developed a blood clot. (CDC spokesman) Allen said that
Gardasil is not known to increase risk of blood clots. He added that Judicial Watch's
analysis does not prove that Gardasil causes death and that the reports of women
who died after receiving the vaccine statistically are normal within the population.

“According to CQ HealthBeat, there is disagreement over the data in part because


the reports of adverse events come from several sources, including health
professionals and pharmaceutical companies, which are required to disclose
potential problems with vaccines, including rumours and third-party information. The
Judicial Watch analysis includes a report about a doctor who at a conference heard
about two patients dying after receiving Gardasil. Another incident involved the
death of a 17-year-old girl immediately after receiving the vaccine, which was
reported to FDA by ‘a gynaecologist who was informed of the case from another
gynaecologist.’ "

So, Dorey’s claim that Gardasil is related to 47 deaths is a selective interpretation of a report
from a right-wing organisation whose findings are based on gossip and anecdote and are
disputed by both the FDA and the CDC, i.e. mainstream scientific opinion. Dorey failed to
mention any of the caveats above.

The AVN have republished an article from “Natural News” that says:

“The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has reported that two young women died
shortly after receiving Merck's Gardasil, a vaccine against several varieties of human
papillomavirus (HPV).The EMEA did not release the names or ages of the women who
died, and said the cause of death was still unknown. It described their deaths as
"sudden and unexpected." 33

What the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) actually say is that:

“ In both cases, the cause of death could not be identified. No causal relationship has been
established between the deaths of the young women and the administration of Gardasil.
On the basis of the currently available evidence, the EMEA’s Committee for Medicinal
Products for Human Use (CHMP) is of the opinion that the benefits of Gardasil continue to
outweigh its risks and that no changes to its product information are necessary.” 34

So the AVN’s statement here is demonstrably selective. I asked Meryl Dorey to explain this
discrepancy by email on 13 July 2009, but did not receive a reply.

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8. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

8.1. The parents of baby Dana McCaffery (who died of Pertussis this year) have written that they
are outraged that without their knowledge, “Meryl Dorey rang the Director of the North Coast Area
Health Service Public Health Unit on 12 March 2009 seeking details on Dana’s death and contended
the department had misled the public.” (Is this the behaviour of a rational person?) They go on:

“Even after I told Meryl what happened to Dana at the (TV) debate, a few weeks
afterwards I found an AVN blog with members making false claims that stated they
had information she was sick from birth, immune-compromised from the HiB vaccine
or died as a result of the antibiotics or medical treatment she received.

“Not only is no-one privy to this information, it is wrong and extremely distressing. In
the latest Living Wisdom, Meryl got every fact wrong about Dana - her age, when she
died, where she might have caught it, when the last death was and uses language to
downplay the seriousness.” 35

So, Meryl Dorey is not above the most egregious invasions of privacy, she is quite capable of
misrepresenting the facts to suit her agenda, while engaging in wild conspiracy theories.

8.2. At a seminar conducted by the AVN, 36 six speakers took the stage to tell the audience that:

 Meningococcal disease is harmless and hardly kills anybody at all.


 Children can gain immunity from disease by picking up objects in the street and sucking
on them, so vaccination is useless as well as harmful.
 The World Health Organisation and the Save The Children Fund "put Hitler and Stalin in
the shade" with their deliberate policy of genocide by using vaccination to spread AIDS in third-
world countries.
 Autism is caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. All of these diseases are
less serious than the dangers of vaccination.
 Autism is caused by mercury in vaccines which do not contain mercury.
 All vaccinations are unnecessary as homeopathy can not only treat any disease but
protect against all things for which vaccine protection is claimed.

So, the AVN’s statements here are demonstrably untrue.

8.3. The AVN prescribes homeopathic and herbal treatments for diphtheria on their website, in
an article written by a person who admits she has “no qualifications whatsoever.” 37 Diphtheria is a
life-threatening illness, killing tens of thousands of Australians before vaccination was introduced.
Is this rational behaviour? Is this responsible? Is this acceptable?

8.4. Another conspiracy theory. Finally, the AVN falls back on conspiracy theory again in Meryl
Dorey’s email of 15 June 2009, when she says:

“ It is vital that we get this information out there. It will blow the roof off of the claims by
our government, our medical community and others who want to continue the cover-up
of this issue.”

15 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK


I could go on to list many more pages of disinformation issued by the AVN, but there must be a time
to come to a stop and accept the overwhelming case that the AVN dispenses untrue information
and unsound advice with the intent of dissuading people from vaccination.

The AVN’s true intention is revealed by their advertisement on their website for T-shirts bearing
their name with the following logo:

38

So their real intent is revealed here. It is not to promote informed choice, but to persuade all
parents to “never inject them” with vaccines.

9. WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE AVN ANTI-VACCINATION CAMPAIGN?

Does it matter that the AVN are using selective and deceptive techniques and false information to
dissuade parents from vaccinating children? Well, yes it does. The AVN is very active in the
Australian community, publishing magazines and newsletters, conducting seminars, appearing on
television and radio, lobbying parents, providing websites, and placing advertisements in
newspapers. It purports to be a charity for fund-raising purposes, but its activities are not directed
to relieving poverty but to spread their dogma that vaccines cause disease and should be avoided.

The AVN is based in northern NSW. 33% of children in that region are not fully vaccinated. This is
not only a risk to these children but also to other unvaccinated children who are not protected by a
“herd immunity”.

For parents concerned for the well-being of their children, and not being exposed to the epidemics
that our older generations were, the message is believed and acted upon, and consequently we are
seeing the reappearance of diseases we thought were defeated and people are dying.

Paediatrician Chris Ingall and Professor Peter McIntyre of Immunisation Surveillance spoke on
television of their fears that such epidemics as polio will return.

10. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

10.1. Summary. It is clear that the AVN, despite its claim to issue balanced information, issues
statements and advice that are clearly wrong, selective, baseless, misleading, deceptive, biased, and
a danger to public health, while engaging in bizarre conspiracy theories, fear campaigns and
invasions of privacy. Nowhere in all my research into the AVN did I find any statement from the
16 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK
AVN supporting vaccination in any way. All AVN statements regarding vaccination that I found
disparaged vaccination, except for mentions of “homeopathic vaccination.”

If the AVN and Meryl Dorey were simply operating out of their area of expertise and making
innocent errors, one would expect that the errors would fall roughly evenly between pro-
vaccination and anti-vaccination arguments and “facts.” It is clear that this is not the case; every
single statement that I subjected to scrutiny found the “error” falling into the anti-vaccination
camp. So egregious and numerous are the incorrect statements that one is drawn to the inevitable
conclusion that the mis-statements are deliberate.

As Justice Grey said in another case:

“Mistakes and misconceptions such as these appear to me by their nature unlikely to


have been innocent. They are more consistent with a willingness on (his) part knowingly
to misrepresent or manipulate or put a "spin" on the evidence so as to make it conform
with his own preconceptions. In my judgment the nature of these misstatements and
misjudgements by (him) is a further pointer towards the conclusion that he has
deliberately skewed the evidence to bring it into line with his political beliefs.” 39

Now that sums up my case far more eloquently that I could.

10.2. The AVN is in breach of Public Health (General) Regulation 2002, Section 3 para 2 in that
Meryl Dorey, does not by her admission above have any qualifications except “having a brain”, nor
any medical qualifications or experience as a doctor or epidemiologist, contrary to the Regulation
which requires:

“(a) a health practitioner must maintain the necessary competence in his or her field of practice,
(b) a health practitioner must not provide health care of a type that is outside his or her experience
or training,”

10.3. The AVN is in breach of NSW Public Health (General) Regulation 2002 Section 12, sub-
paragraph (3) in that they claim that various vaccinations are ineffective and/or cause serious side-
effects such as autism. The paragraph says that:

“(3) A health practitioner must not make claims, either directly or in advertising or promotional
material, about the efficacy of treatment or services provided if those claims cannot be
substantiated.”

10.4. The AVN is in breach of Public Health (General) Regulation 2002 Schedule 3 Section 7
paragraph 1, in that they attempt to dissuade members of the public from obtaining vaccinations
from registered medical practitioners. This paragraph requires that:

“A health practitioner must not attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing with
treatment by a registered medical practitioner.”

17 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK


10.5. I submit that:

A. the AVN is engaging in activities that qualify it as a “health service provider”, and Meryl Dorey
engages in activities which qualifies her as a “health practitioner”, and
B. the AVN is subject to the Health Care Complaints Act, and
C. the AVN is engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct with the intent of persuading parents
not to vaccinate their children, is in breach of the Code of Conduct and the Regulation, and
D. the failure to vaccinate children is a danger to individual and public health, and
E. the AVN is not protected by any right of free speech, and
F. the Health Care Complaints Commission has a legislated duty to investigate the activities of the
AVN, and
G. the legislation and precedents exist to silence them via a Prohibition Order, and
H. the Health Care Complaints Commission should issue a Prohibition Order Pursuant to The
Health Care Complaints Act 1993 Division 6A – “Action against unregistered health practitioners” in
that under S41

“(b) it finds that the health practitioner has breached a code of conduct for unregistered health
practitioners .......and
(c) it is of the opinion that the health practitioner poses a substantial risk to the health of members
of the public.”

I. The Commission should, pursuant to S 94A of the Act, “Warnings about unsafe treatments or
services” issue a public statement that the AVN poses a risk to public health and safety.

Ken McLeod

14 July 2009.

18 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK


APPENDIX 1
SOME OF THE BOOKS FOR SALE ON THE AVN WEBSITE

19 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK


APPENDIX 2
NOTES AND REFERENCES

1
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/fora/stories/2009/06/26/2609568.htm
2
Posted by the AVN at http://thenaturalhealthguide.com.au/reviews/the-avn-needs-your-help/
3
Channel 7 “Sunday Night” program
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmymvZefhKY&feature=related

4
Jones v Toben [2009] FCA 354

5
Public Statement by Qld Minister for Tourism and Fair Trading Peter Lawlor, Thursday, April 23,
2009 “Unregistered health provider ordered to stop misleading cancer patients”
http://statements.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=63436 accessed 13 July
2009

6
United States Supreme Court Schenck v. United States 1919.

20 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK


7
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/about-the-avn.html accessed 16 June 2009
8
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/ accessed 17 June 2009.
9
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/mmr.html accessed 3 June 2009
10
Gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield claimed in a 1998 study published in “The Lancet” that
MMR might trigger autism. The study was based on just 12 children and later retracted by all of its
co-authors and The Lancet.

11
“Autism rises despite MMR ban in Japan” Andy Coghlan NewScientist 3 March 2005

12
Honda Hideo, Shimizu Y, Rutter M. “No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a
total population study.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2005).
13
United States Court of Federal Claims Office of Special Masters no. 02-0738V 20 July 2007
Banks vs Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The action was brought
pursuant to The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to
300aa-34) which was enacted in the United States to reduce the potential financial liability of
vaccine makers due to vaccine injury claims. The legislation was aimed at ensuring a stable market
supply, and to provide cost-effective arbitration for vaccine injury claims. Under the NCVIA, the
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) was created to provide a federal no-fault
system for compensating vaccine-related injuries by establishing a claim procedure involving the
United States Court of Federal Claims.
14
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/mmr.html accessed 16 June 2009
15
http://www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk/library/sideeffects.php accessed 16 June 2009
16
Channel 7 “Sunday Night” program
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmymvZefhKY&feature=related
17
“Mumps: a resurgent disease with protean manifestations” Sanjaya N Senanayake Medical Journal
of Australia 2008; 189 (8): 456-459
18
^ De Santis M, Cavaliere AF, Straface G, Caruso A (2006). . Reprod. Toxicol. 21 (4): 390–8. .
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0890-6238(05)00073-0.
19
http://www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk/library/crohnsdisease.php accessed 16 June 2009.
20
http://www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk/library/bmj.php accessed 16 June 2009 and Miller E, Waight
P.Second “immunisation has not affected incidence in England.” British Medical Journal, 1998.
21
Channel 7 current affairs show, “Sunday Night”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-
63XHXxTM4

21 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK


22
Dr NS Crowcroft , C Stein, P Duclos, M Birmingham “How best to estimate the global burden of
pertussis?” The Lancet, Infectious Diseases, Volume 3, Issue 7, Pages 413 - 418, July 2003
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473309903006698/abstract

23
“Living Wisdom” magazine, Issue 3 2009 page 55
24
Channel 7 current affairs show, “Sunday Night”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-
63XHXxTM4
25
Email 15 June 2009.
26
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/diphtheria.html accessed 13 July
2009
27
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/diphtheria.html accessed 13 July
2009
28
Hessel L. Aventis Pasteur MSD. 8, rue Jones Salk-69367 Lyon. Published at National Library of
Medicine
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15146581?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubm
ed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=related
reviews&logdbfrom=pubmed accessed 13 July 2009.

29
Channel 7 current affairs show, “Sunday Night”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-
63XHXxTM4

30
Aust Dept of Health And Aging “Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in
Australia, 2003 to 2005 Meningococcal disease”

31
Email Friday, 26 June 2009 11:47 AM
32
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/84804.php
33
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/news-and-events/two-more-girls-die-after-getting-gardasil-
cervical-cancer-vaccine.html accessed 13 July 2009.
34
Doc. Ref. EMEA/37479/2008
http://www.emea.europa.eu/humandocs/PDFs/EPAR/gardasil/Gardasil_press_release.pdf accessed
13 July 2009
35
http://scepticsbook.com/2009/06/18/toni-mccaffery-has-had-enough/ accessed 5 July 2009
36
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, as reported by Peter Bowditch of his attendance at
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/inferno.htm
37
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/diphtheria-article.html The article
was written by Hilary Baker, who describes herself as “freelance journalist and mother, New
22 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK
Zealand.” She described herself in the Thames Valley Gazette of 31/5/1988 as “an independent
researcher on non-immunisation”, and presented a video to a seminar, as reported in the Gazette,
on how “the World Health Organisation in combination with the National Institute of Cancer in the
US manufactured the AIDS virus.” She claims to have “written five papers on non-immunisation.”
She admits she has “no qualifications whatsoever.” See
http://www.whale.to/a/bmjtb.html#Hilary_Butler,__ accessed 16 July 2009.

38
http://avn.org.au/library/index.php/vaccination-information/ accessed 17 June 2009.

39
Irving vs Lipstadt http://www.hdot.org/en/trial/judgement/13.63 UK HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
1996 -I- 1113 QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION The Hon. Mr. Justice Gray

23 COMPLAINT: AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK